Published: Sunday May 16, 2010 MYT 8:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday May 16, 2010 MYT 11:41:42 PM
Official result: DAP wins by 398-vote majority
SIBU: The DAP won the Sibu parliamentary by-election Sunday, when its candidate Wong Ho Leng won the three-cornered fight with a 398-majority vote.
Wong, who is also Bukit Assek state assemblyman, garnered 18,845 votes against Barisan National's Robert Lau Hui Yew, who polled 18,447 votes while independent Narawi Haron only received 232 votes.
A total of 37,919 or 70% of the 54,695 registered voters cast their ballots at 45 polling stations.
The by-election was the second held in Sarawak over the span of one year. In April last year, Barisan retained the Batang Ai state seat in a straight fight with PKR.
The Sibu by-election was called following the death of five-time MP and Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew on April 9.
In the March 2008 general election, Hoi Chew won with a 3,235-vote majority to retain the mainly Chinese urban seat in a three-cornered fight beating Wong and Lim Chin Chuang of PKR. He obtained 19,138 votes against Wong's 15,903 and Lim's 812. - Bernama
The following is the timeline:
11pm: DAP's Wong Ho Leng won the by-election by 398 votes, garnering 18,845 votes to beat BN's Robert Lau Hui Yew (18,447). Independent Narawi Haron polled 232 votes.
10.45pm: There is no recount of votes, says the state Election director. The dispute is over the validity of witnesses' signature for postal votes. The matter is being resolved now.
10pm: All 110 boxes counted, but 2,537 postal votes cast not tallied yet.
9.20pm: DAP has claimed victory in the by-election, although the official result has not been announced by the Election Commission.
Party adviser Lim Kit Siang tweeted that the party had achieved the "Sibu Miracle" but stopped short of claiming victory.
"Majority prob v narrow but its Sibu Miracle if true. Will not update further as results incomplete. Keep fingers crossed n pray," Lim tweeted.
However, DAP's Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi was nmore forthright and claimed: "DAP wins Sibu".
At the Sibu Civic Centre, where tallying is going on and the official results expected to be announced within the next hour, there were hardly any BN leaders present.
8.45pm: Official results - 95 out of 110 boxes counted
8.15pm: Official results - 80 out of 110 boxes counted
7pm: Two hours after the closing of voting and with about 45% of votes counted, the result is still too narrow to call, although DAP's Wong Ho Leng has a slight edge.
After 57 boxes were counted, Ho Leng had a lead of around 900 votes as the urban ballot boxes are being counted. Earlier he was trailing by almost 2,000 votes when the rural votes were being counted.
However, both sides are refraining from making any claims as there are 53 boxes yet to be counted.
SUPP national organising secretary Datuk Peter Chun and State DAP publicity chief David Wong said it was a neck-and-neck race.
The low voter turnout has also disappointed both sides and the two parties accept that most of those who did not vote were Chinese.
Sibu SUPP chief Datuk Wong Soon Koh said floods caused by the Rejang River resulted in many voters not coming out.
All eyes are now on the postal votes and the ballot boxes from the Malay-dominated Kampung Bandung area.
6.40pm: Following is the voter turnout statistics at 5pm.
Total number of registered voters: 54,695
Number of voters who cast ballots: 32,742
Voter turnout: 59.86%
6pm: Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said he was not satisfied with the lower voter turnout, which was lower than the 67% recorded in the 2008 general election.
Out of the 45 polling centres opened to facilitate the polling process, 10 closed at 1pm, five at 2pm, six at 3pm, two at 4pm and the remaining 22 at 5pm.
The vote counting process is currently underway and the tallying will be done at the Sibu Civic Centre here. The result is expected to be known by 9pm.
Sibu police chief ACP Shafie Ismail said polling went smoothly except for a minor incidents of heckling among supporters of the contesting parties.
5.45pm: Despite early indications that SUPP was leading after suburban votes had been counted, Barisan leaders refused to make early conclusions and say votes from the polling stations inside the town vicinity will be decisive.
5.15pm: Sibu SUPP publicity chief Daniel Ngieng said the Chinese voter turnout overall was below what Barisan had expected.
5pm: Polling has closed and the turnout is lower than expected.
4.45pm: At 4pm, 56.9% or 31,119 of the registered voters had cast their ballots, according to the Election Commission.
4.30pm: Balloting will end in 30 minutess. Both SUPP and DAP leaders remain tense, indicating a close finish is on the cards. SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan says there is just a bit more to go and he is hopeful of victory.
3.50pm: At 3pm, 53.02% or a total of 29,000 of the registered voters had cast their votes, according to the Election Commission.
2.45pm: Voter turnout as at 2pm was 46.3%, and the EC's target of 80% turnout looks possible as rain not expected until late evening.
1.40pm: At 1pm, 42pc or more than 23,000 voters had cast their ballots
11.51am: SUPP organising secretary Datuk Seri Peter Chin says voter turnout in town centre polling station is still low and is urging voters to cast their ballots early
11.30am: Voter turnout at 11am is 28.83% but turnout is expected to increase after church services after noon. Meanwhile Bernama reported Election Commission (EC) deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar as saying that "the casting of votes has proceeded smoothly so far. We have not received any reports of untoward incidents."
11.00am: Crowd of voters turn up at Malay-majority Kampung Bandung polling district. Strong opposition presence along the roads leading to Dewan Kelab Melayu polling station. Umno VP Safie Apdal arrived at 10.50am with Barisan supporters and left after greeting voters.
10.30am: Voter turnout by 10am was 20%
10.10am: Independent candidate Narawi Haron arrives at SK Ulu Sg Merah, KM 14 Oya Road
10.00am: Crowd at the political hotspot Rajang Park gets bigger as more voters gather to cast their ballots at SJK Taman Rajang and Tadika Taman Rajang polling stations. Rajang is a DAP stronghold.
9.12am: DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng casts his vote at Guong Ann primary school. He is accompanied by his wife Irene Chang and eldest daughter.
9.05am: Barisan candidate Robert Lau arrives with his wife Alice to SMK Rosli Dhoby polling station at Sg Antu polling district to cast her ballot. Robert Lau is not a voter in the Sibu constituency. He is registered in the neighbouring Lanang district.
8.15am: Polls get off to a slow but smooth start. The crowd is expected to increase after morning church services.
8.00am: Polling centres open
7.40am: Early birds come trickling in to avoid long queues later in the day.
SIBU: A total of 52,158 voters are due to choose their new member of parliament in the Sibu parliamentary by-election Sunday in this predominantly Chinese constituency.
Another 2,537 postal voters, comprising 1,910 military and 627 police personnel, had cast their ballots on Thursday and Friday at the Rascom and Oya army camps as well as the Police District Headquarters, here.
Altogether 45 polling stations, with 110 streams, will be opened at 39 schools, two kindergartens and a training centre, a longhouse, a public library and a public recreational centre to facilitate polling.
Voters have been asked to turn up in full force when the stations open at 8am to mark their choice of candidates - the Barisan Nasional's (BN) Robert Lau Hui Yew, the DAP's Wong Ho Leng, who is also Bukit Assek state assemblyman, or independent, Narawi Haron.
Hui Yew, who is defending the predominantly Chinese urban seat for the Barisan following the death of Deputy Transport Minister and five-term Sibu MP Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew on April 9, is scheduled to cast his vote at the SMK Rosli Dhoby polling centre here at about 9am while Wong will be voting at SJKC Goung Ann.
The result of the three-cornered fight is expected to be announced by the Election Commission (EC) at the Sibu Civic Centre here at the latest by 9 pm.
The EC has also assured that the polling process will proceed smoothly as security has been tightened with the reinforcement of police personnel since nomination day last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Sarawak Meterological Department has forecast fair weather with the possibility of isolated showers in Sibu on Sunday, which should augur well for the polling process.
In the 2008 general election, Hoi Chew retained the Sibu seat with a 3,549-vote majority, beating Ho Leng and Lim Chin Chuang of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in a three-cornered tussle.
According to the electoral roll, updated as of April 9 this year, Chinese voters make up almost 67% of the total number of voters, followed by Malay/Melanau (10.5%) and Sarawak bumiputeras (22%).
Facts that figure:
CANDIDATES: Robert Lau Hui Yew (BN); Wong Ho Leng (DAP) ; Narawi Haron (Independent) NOMINATION DAY: May 8
POLLING DAY: May 16
TOTAL NO. OF VOTERS: 54,695, comprising 52,158 ordinary and 2,537 postal voters.
NOMINATION/VOTE TALLYING CENTRE: Sibu Civic Centre Hall
POLLING CENTRES: 45 polling stations in 39 schools, two kindergartens and a training centre, a longhouse, a public library and a public recreational centre, with a total of 110 polling streams.
RETURNING OFFICER: Returning Officer Wong See Meng, who is also the Sibu district officer,
MARCH 2008 GENERAL ELECTION RESULT: Robert Lau Hoi Chew (BN) retained the Sibu seat with a 3,549-vote majority, beating Wong Ho Leng of DAP and Lim Chin Chuang of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in a three-cornered fight. The by-election was called following the death of Hoi Chew on April 9. - Bernama